Various FREE and discounted events are taking place throughout Stoke-on-Trent for a cultural special Open Weekend.

Cultural Destinations across Stoke-on-Trent are throwing open their doors and encouraging visitors to get creating and making as part of a special Open Weekend designed to celebrate the creativity of the city.

Coming hot on the heels of the final episode of The Great Pottery Throw Down, which is filmed at Stoke-on-Trent’s historic Middleport Pottery, the Open Weekend, which takes place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March, aims to build on the momentum generated by the programme and give visitors a unique insight into the creative heritage of the city, whilst challenging them to make their own creations and memories.

Some of the highlights of the weekend include: The opportunity to explore a My Stoke Story Heritage Trail around Middleport Pottery, experience their 130-year old steam engine and participate in a #MyStokeStory Play with Clay session  – All activities are free, free entry and free onsite parking. Advanced booking required for the Heritage Trail.

Make clay flowers with a British Ceramic Biennial artist at The Trentham Estate Shopping Village – FREE

Make a clay tile to represent your own My Stoke Story at Gladstone Pottery MuseumFREE activity-  BUT museum admission charges apply.

At World of Wedgwood take part in a free drop in session with Clay College students where you can have a go at pulling handles – FREE.

Go behind the scenes at The Pottery Museum & Art Gallery to learn more about their Flatback collection, and then make your own Flatback with a British Ceramic Biennial artist – FREE, limited places on the tour. Decorate an 8½ ” plate for £8 when you book an ‘early bird’ decorating session at the Emma Bridgewater Factory.

All activities are being provided for free, or at a special discounted rate, for this weekend only.

Heritage buses, provided by the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society, will also be providing a FREE shuttle bus service during the weekend between Emma Bridgewater; Gladstone Pottery Museum (Sat 14 only); Middleport Pottery; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; The Trentham Estate and World of Wedgwood – enabling visitors to explore, and get creative in, multiple cultural destinations across the city.

The Open Weekend not only provides the opportunity to make and decorate pottery, largely for free, but also invites visitors to discover a different side to Stoke-on-Trent and share their experiences by tagging #MyStokeStory. The event is part of the Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Destinations project, a major initiative funded by Arts Council England in association with VisitEngland, and a legacy from Stoke-on-Trent’s 2021 City of Culture bid.

Paul Williams, Chair Cultural Destinations said: “We are encouraging residents and visitors to Stoke-on-Trent to use this open weekend as an opportunity to explore our fantastic cultural destinations to try something new and then share their experiences by tagging their pictures with #MyStokeStory. Over the last three years we have continued the amazing work we started as part of our City of Culture bid and have noticed a real step change in cultural organisations coming together as content providers for tourism experiences across the city and beyond. This weekend not only provides a natural culmination to that work but it also aligns with Arts Council England’s new strategy to use culture and the experiences it offers to have a deep and lasting effect on people and places such as Stoke-on-Trent – Let’s Create.”

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “Over the past three years we have continued the amazing work that was started as part of our UK City of Culture 2021 bid – and it’s legacy has been huge. We’ve seen a renewed sense of pride and belief in our city – and recognition that our cultural sector is vital to the future success of Stoke-on-Trent. While we did not officially win the title, the bid has led to the creation of new jobs and helped the local economy. Events such as this open weekend also show how the cultural infrastructure in Stoke-on-Trent has received a significant boost, with many different groups coming together in a more co-ordinated and collaborative way to improve what’s on offer for our residents and visitors. We’d encourage as many people as possible to attend an event on 14 and 15 March – it’s going to be an amazing, creative celebration of how far we’ve come and what we can achieve in the future.”

Keith Brymer Jones, star of Great Pottery Throw Down, added “The history of Stoke and ceramics is at the heart of the city’s rich cultural heritage. By throwing open their doors to encourage everyone who visits, particularly young people, to play with clay or participate in other forms of creativity and making, these organisations are not only giving better access to culture, they are helping people to realise their own creative potential whilst helping to promote Stoke-on-Trent as a cultural destination.”